EXCLUSIVE: M’Poku and Whing look set to stay at Orient

Slade hopes to keep loan duo at Brisbane Road

ORIENT manager Russell Slade returns to his former club Brighton on New Year’s Day – with the perfect present.

The O’s boss is hoping to keep exciting winger Paul-Jose M’Poku and Andrew Whing on loan until the end of the season.

Tottenham Hotspur youngster M’Poku’s loan spell finishes on January 8, but the O’s boss revealed this week: “It has been verbally agreed between ourselves and Tottenham that Paul-Jose will be able to stay, and we don’t foresee a problem.

“I’m delighted with the news.”

M’Poku, who initially joined for a month at the end of September, has gradually become an important figure in the Orient team.

He has started four league games and made three more appearances from the bench, but it was his FA Cup display against Droylsden that caught the eye.

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The 18-year-old, who has won six caps at under-19 level for Belgium, kept the O’s in the competition almost single-handedly with a breathtaking display.

Meanwhile, Slade also hopes to be able to hang on to Whing, whose loan spell is up after Monday’s match against Colchester United.

The 26-year-old defender has made just four appearances for the O’s since joining them on loan at the start of November, but is a useful utility player to have, especially as Orient are not overloaded with defenders.

Whing will not be allowed to play against his parent club on Saturday, but Slade will relish his return to the Withdean and will be looking for a repeat performance after the O’s overcame a strong Seagulls side 2-0 in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy back in September.

“It’s a game I’ll be looking forward to and it’s a big game for both clubs,” said Slade.

“Brighton have seen their lead at the top trimmed recently, so they will be looking to push on again.

“And we are desperate to play after losing our last three games to the weather.

“It’s going to be tough because they are the best team in the division at this time and their league position illustrates that.

“But we played against a strong Brighton side in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy and acquitted ourselves really well.”

As the big freeze starts to thaw, O’s face a busy programme and after Saturday’s game at the Withdean they return to Brisbane Road on Monday for an Essex derby duel against Colchester United.